Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Glade Expressions Collection Review

With three kiddos, two of them being male, sometimes my house just plain stinks. I like to burn candles, but I worry about the flames with the children.  Scentsy is awesome, but really expensive.  Plus, my hubby doesn't really like have the thing plugged in and on all the time.  Therefore, I am pretty open to trying new "air freshener".   Recently, I was given the opportunity to try out the New Glade Expressions Collection for being a Bzz Agent...woo hoo! 

I was given two coupons to try out some great products:  The Glade Expressions Diffuser and the Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist.

 One of the main problem areas when it comes to smell in my household is the bathroom.  I admit, sometimes it just plain stinks like a gas station urinal.  Gross, I know.  But seriously, I have two little boys peeing all over the toilet...and pretty much the entire floor surrounding it.  While, I do try to clean and freshen it up at least once a week, it is nice to have a little air freshener.  I decided that this was the room that I could use the diffuser.   My bathroom has somewhat of a "beachy"  theme, so I choose to stick with the Pineapple & Mangosteen scent.  I loved the look of the natural wood.

The smell coming from the diffuser was quite pleasant. It worked really well for about a week.  I did not notice the usual smells because this wonderful fragrance masked it.  Then, slowly the fragrance went away.  Now, to actually smell the Pineapple & Mangosteen I have to pick it up and basically hold it to my nose.  I really liked the small, so I am a bit disappointed that it didn't last longer.  However, if I get a great deal on the refills, I will likely purchase more.

When it came to the fragrance mist, I chose to use my coupon on the Fuji Apple& Cardamom Spice.  I love the smell of fall, and apple spice sounded like it would fit perfectly with my other fall candles that I love to burn this time of year.  

I really liked the fragrance.  It wasn't too overwhelming, yet it got the job done and made my house smell better.   I keep this in our living room and kitchen area.  These actually come as a two part, a refillable holder and the refill.  I like this because it is a little more eco friendly.  Not as much waste.  The only big complaint I have about these is that you have to squeeze the sides of it to get it to spray and sometimes it isn't that easy.  It's not very smooth and sometimes drips out instead of spraying.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the scents.  I wish they would last a little longer.  If I ever find a good deal on them, I will probably snatch them up.  I do have a few coupons to spare, so hit me up!

Remember, I was given these to try for free as a Bzz Agent.  I was not in any way paid for these review.  All opinions are truly my own.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life Review & Deal

Discipline?  What's that?  Lately I have been slowly sliding...My house is getting cluttered.  Stacks of papers are piling up.  Laundry is taking over the house.  Coupons are scattered here and there.  My "to do" list just keeps going and going.  You might just say that I am in a funk.  I need to be more disciplined.  Last week, Crystal from MoneySavingMom announced that she was launching her new ebook 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life.  Is this God's way of putting the smack down? I questioned whether I really needed someone to "tell" me how to get my act together, but I went to her website and read about the book. I ended up snagging a free copy of it to review right away. Seriously...I read the section on Who is this Book for?  and thoroughly believe it was meant for me.  Let me share...

Who is This Book For?

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life is for you if:
  • You have trouble following through.
  • You get overwhelmed by huge projects.
  • You start strong, but your passion fizzles out.
  • You are super-disciplined in a few areas of your life, but you have one or two pet areas that you just can’t get under control.
  • You check out 10 different books on discipline and organization from the library, but return all of them late. 
Check, check, check. check. Right now, I have a $9 late fee at the library...guess it's not free if you don't return things on time. Check.

I started reading the ebook this past weekend and I am starting my 21 days!  I really like Crystal's approach.  She does not pretend like she knows it all and we must follow her guidelines, but instead she admits her faults and gives practical advice on how to make positive changes in your life.  I really like how she gives a daily application to the reading.  It's not overwhelming, but the little tasks are helping me make progress without burning out.  She is also a mother of young children, so I can relate to her.  I am looking forward to each new day and how each one is benefiting my life.


Right now Crystal is offering her new ebook 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life for only $0.99.  This special is only good until October 26th You do not have to have a Kindle or Nook to read it. I just downloaded it on my computer desktop.  I would love to have a partner in this journey to a more disciplined life!  Let me know if you join me and we can support each other.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book to review.  I would not recommend this to you if it was not a positive influence for me.  I did not get paid to review it, and all opinions are true. However, the links to purchase this book are my referral links. 

Whatcha Eatin'? Monday, October 22nd

Well, I skipped out on menu planning last week, which resulted in running out and buying Avanti's one night and Mcdonald's the next.  We also enjoyed frozen pizza.  This week, I am back to planning.  I don't really like feeling so unorganized.

A couple of weeks ago, we tried out four new recipes, so I thought I better give our opinion on them before I share this week's menu.   We tried out Lasagna Soup, Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki Sandwiches, Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole, and Easy Mexican Casserole.  We ended up adding two of them to the list of recipes to rotate.  We enjoyed the Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches.  My boys devoured them, so it was a success.  I really enjoyed the Cheesy Chicken & Rice and the entire family ate it up.  I really liked how completely from scratch it was.  My kids got all their vegetables in without any complaining. It was a keeper!  Lasagna soup was okay, but boys would rather just have Lasagna Casserole.  The Mexican Casserole was good, but hubby said he'd rather just have tacos.  Tacos are so easy, so Tacos it is!

Now on to this week's menu...

Monday:  Sour Cream Ritz Chicken, Oven Potatoes, Green Beans

Tuesday:  Angela's Awesome Enchiladas, Rice, Mixed Fruit

Wednesday:  Tortellini, Meat Sauce, Dinner Salad, Corn, Garlic Mozzarella Sticks 

Thursday:  Chop Suey Casserole, Dinner Salad, Rolls 

Friday:  Homemade Pizza, Chips, Veggies & Dip

Saturday:  Chicken Strips, French Fries

Sunday:  StirFry 

What are you enjoying this week?  Link up with me at Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday...or in my case Menu Plan Tuesday!

Have a wonderful week!  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Best Lunch Date. Ever.

Sometimes it's the little things that matter most.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to help out with Big Bro's preschool class.  My mother was watching the other two munchkins, so I decided that I would surprise Big Brother with a Mommy & Me lunch date. I had to stop by Menard's to pick up a couple of things, so I thought we'd slip into Wendy's afterwards.  When we pulled into the parking lot, his sweet little face lit up, and he asked  "Are we going to eat INSIDE?" Our "eating out" usually consists of a drive thru visit and eating at home, so this was extra special for him.  It truly was priceless.  He was so excited to get whatever he wanted.  He even picked out the high top table to sit at.  He beamed the entire time.  It was so awesome to be able to spend some one-on-one time with him.  We enjoyed some "big kid" conversation and had a special Frosty for dessert.  Big Brother felt extra-special which made me feel like the best mom ever.  I so need to do this more often.   Such a little thing, but such a big thing for him.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

75 More Days...Have you made your list?

  Photo credit: 

Christmas is right around the corner, and I am getting ready.  Today, I decided to make my list.  No, not my wish list, but the list of people who we like to buy presents for.  I have found that I tend to go a little overboard, so I decided this year I would make a budget and stick with it!  I wanted to share with you a great Gift Budget Sheet from Real Simple magazine that I found helpful when making this budget.  Here the author gives great tips to keep in mind when creating your budget....

"Step 1: Set a limit  
Come up with an overall number in early December (I would do this sooner!). It should include the amount you think you can spend on gifts without going broke by January. A good rule of thumb is 1.5 percent of your (pretax) annual household income. For a family making $65,000 a year, that’s about $1,000. Be realistic, though.You need to take into account what you actually have. Look at your current savings and conservatively factor in any money coming, such as a holiday bonus. To get an idea of what you spent last year, dig out your credit-card statements from the previous year. If you had unforeseen expenses this year and your checking account is running low, you might want to shrink your list or come up with more-modest gift ideas."

"Step 2: Divvy up the money 
 Create a detailed gift list that includes family, friends, neighbors, even the babysitter. Then decide how much you want to spend, keeping the bottom line in mind.When you make a purchase, note the cost. Periodically tally up your spending to see if you’re on track.You can, of course, reallocate your money as you go along, so try to buy in order of importance to you. The kids, your husband, and your mom might go first, for example. Include gift wrap and shipping."

I would encourage you to start thinking about your budget now so you can have a stress-free Christmas season! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Perfect Day for the ZOO!

Okay, so many days I feel like I live in a zoo, but today we decided that it would be more fun to go to an actual zoo.  My mom, my aunt, and a few of my sister-in-laws & nieces and nephews spent a wonderful morning at the Peoria Zoo.  Despite it's outrageous admission prices and the cool weather, we had a great time!

 The whole zoo was decorated for Halloween, and the kiddos loved them!

Baby Sis loved the pumpkins!  

It was so beautiful out that the lions were basking in the sun.  Big Bro called these the "beautiful beasts". 

 This by far was the coolest...a BLUE frog!  At first, I thought it was fake and then it started to hop away. 

 Little Bro was pretty entertained with the fish.

 This little monkey was so kept making funny noises at us. 

Ewww!  Snakes!  The boys loved looking at them.  Yuck!  

 This little stinker didn't want to ride in her stroller. 

 Thank goodness for big cousins there to help out!  

A good time was had by all!  I am so thankful for great days like this.

How did you spend your day with your kids?

Whatcha Eatin'? October 8th Edition

Wow!  I am loving this fall weather.  Last week we enjoyed chili for the first time this fall, and it was delicious.   I wanted to find some other great soup recipes this week and came across this Lasagna Soup recipe.  My hubby has been getting a bit burned out on the lasagna casserole that I usually make, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I decided to look for a few more recipes and I found several that I wanted to try.  Therefore, the  majority of this week we will be trying out new recipes.  I will have to share which ones will be keepers next week.  Here is what our week looks like:

Monday:  Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole, Dinner Rolls, Apples & Caramel Dip 
Tuesday:  Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches, Veggies & Dip, Chips 
Wednesday:  Lasagna Soup, French Bread, Dinner Salad
Thursday:  Easy Mexican Casserole, Corn, Mixed Fruit
Friday:  Dinner Out or Frozen Pizza
Saturday:  Chicken Patties, French Fries (Hunting Season is here...that means its me & the kiddos on Saturday evening until the time change) 
Sunday:  Grillin' Out 

What are you munching on this week?  Join me and link up at Organizing Junkie's Blog.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Why I Splurge On Professional Photography

One of my most treasured things in this life are my photographs. If my house was burning down, I would grab my children & hubby then run back in to grab my photographs.  My mother was also very sentimental and kept a lot of items and pictures of my childhood.  I love to open the tote and look through everything once in awhile. My children love seeing pictures of mom when she was a little girl.   With nine children, I know that it was difficult to keep up with taking pictures, but my mother always managed to get a family picture every year.  I would like to continue the tradition with my family.  In the years past, I have tried several attempts to snap a family picture or pictures of my children as they reach certain age levels, but I always seem to fail.  Usually one child is smiling, while the other is looking away.  Or I can't get them to sit still.  It is always to frustrating and I end up giving up.

Over the years, I have realized that is worth my money and my sanity to splurge on professional photography. I am lucky enough to have found a great photographer just around the corner. Literally.  She lives around the corner.  Michelle, from Photography by Michelle, was my photographer for our wedding in 2004.  We loved her so much that when we had Big Brother, we had her photograph his newborn pictures.  He was just a month old and I remember thinking how beautiful and tiny he was, but as he grew I quickly forgot about him as newborn. Thankfully, I have beautiful pictures to take me back to that time again.  I continued to use Michelle for all my babies.  She has a great package called "A Baby Story" where she captures all the different stages during the 1st year: newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year.  I got back Addilyn's 1st year pictures and I was in love with them.  In fact, she did such a great job that I can hardly choose which ones to purchase!  What do you think?

I love how she captured the tutu and her cute little bum.

Getting her to sit still was impossible, but what a great shot.  I love this one! 

It's amazing what a professional picture will capture. 

Getting a close up of her beautiful face would be impossible without Michelle!

We were able to snap a few pictures inside as well.  

 Michelle always goes the extra mile and tries to coordinate with my outfits.  Don't you love the fake purple wall and white baseboard?  The balloons were a great idea for her 1st birthday shots, but Addilyn wouldn't stop trying to eat them!  

 Another great perk of a professional photographer...cute chairs like this!  

Love the rolls! 

I can't imagine that Sears or Walmart would take the time and make the extra effort that Michelle does.  If you are ever in the market for family pictures, or baby pictures, I encourage you to check out her website

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

COVERGIRL & OLAY Foundation and Powder Review

It's a good thing I snagged my hunky hubby almost 15 years ago, because now he is stuck with me! I admit, that I am not the hot little thing that I once was.  (not sure that I really was ever hot, but you know what I mean)  Lately, I have been noticing that my skin is just not the same as it was when I was 18.  I now notice that I have these brown spots all my face that apparently are "age spots".  I also have these permanent dark circles under my eyes from the lack of sleep that I have be enduring for the last five years of having young children.   Lastly, the smile that I always have on my face seems to be a curse...who knew that a person could get wrinkles from smiling too much?  Basically, I need a make-over.  While I cannot afford, nor would I want plastic surgery, there had to be something that I could do to improve my overall look.  As if it was meant to be, I received the opportunity to sample the new COVERGIRL & Olay Tone Rehab 2-in-1 Foundation and Pressed Powder. As a Bzz agent, I was sent two full size bottle of each of them picked out to match my skin tone.  For the past couple of months, I have been trying this out on the days that I actually get the time to do my make-up.  Although it was extremely difficult to take a picture of myself with my phone, I did manage to get a couple of pictures so you could see the difference.  

Although the change was not drastic, I definitely noticed some improvements. 

Here are a couple of things that I noticed with it:

1.  I felt way more confident.  
2.  I loved the light weight feel of the foundation. 
3.  My skin looked radiant and my shine was gone.  
4.  The wrinkles around my eyes were less noticeable. 
5.   I got complemented on my complexion. Without make-up, people always comment on how tired I look or asked if I was sick.
6.  Although the powder was soft and smooth, if my skin was even a bit dry it looked a bit flaky.  

Overall, I was very thankful for this opportunity.  My hubby tells me all the time that I am beautiful without makeup, but sometimes it is nice to feel pretty.  I admit this foundation and powder made me feel pretty.  Will I buy more of it in the future when I run out,  You bet!  

Note:  I received this for free as a Bzz Agent, but I was not compensated for my honest opinions. 


Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

UNREAL™ Candy Review

I love chocolate. I can recall a time when I was in 7th or 8th grade and I was supposed to sell candy bars for my class trip.  Well, instead of selling them, I managed to polish off at least half of the box myself and my parents ended up paying for them. that is an embarrassing story, but you must understand I LOVE CHOCOLATE!  In fact,  I must have consumed way too much chocolate when I was pregnant with my children, because they too love chocolate.  I admit, I don't always deny my children candy.  I do try to set a limit to how much they have and most of the time candy is used as a reward.  For example, when my children were potty training, I used M&M's to reward them for making it to the toilet.  Maybe it wasn't the brightest idea...but it worked! All in all, chocolate is something we enjoy in our house. 

Therefore, I was pumped when I saw the UNREAL™ candy in my local CVS a couple of months ago.  I was even more excited to find out that I would be able to try it out for free for being a Bzz Agent.  What's all the hype?  Well...I finally can stop feeling guilty about letting my children and myself eat candy because UNREAL™ Candy is not full of junk!  There are NO Hydrogentated Oils, NO Artificial Flavors, NO GMOs, NO Corn Syrup, a lower Gycemic Index. and NO Dyes.  As a Bzz Agent, I was given some coupons to try out a few of my favorites.

I chose the Peanut Butter Cups, the Chocolate Caramel Peanuts Nougat Bar, and the Candy Coated Chocolate with Peanuts.  I encourage you to follow links to the Candy and see how they compare with the popular "junk"  candy.  I was impressed!!

I chose to keep the Peanut Butter Cups to selfish!  They were tasty.  Not quite the same taste of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, but overall they had a great taste.  I liked them even better when I found out that they had 6 less carbs than the Reese's.  They also have 10 less grams of sugar!

I decided to let the boys share the Candy Coated Chocolate with Peanuts.  I LOVED the fact that UNREAL™ did not use food dyes to color the candies, but instead vegetable juices, like beet juice.  How cool is that?  The boys seemed to really enjoy them.  Big Brother earned them as a reward for practicing his writing and Little Brother just got lucky.

I had all intentions of sharing the last Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat Bar with my hubby, but I remembered that he did not like peanuts.  That was convenient!  This one was my favorite!!  I loved it.  I really couldn't tell a huge difference in the taste compared to the popular Snickers bar.  I did notice a HUGE difference in the content.  80 fewer calories, 10 few carbs, 2 fewer grams of fat, 4 more grams of fiber, 13 fewer grams of Sugar, and 1 more gram of Protein. I think the choice is clear!

I am so excited that a company finally came out with "real" candy that we can enjoy! I am so excited, that I kept my FREE coupon to share with one of you.  The 1st person to comment on this blog post with the flavor that they can't wait to try will get a coupon to try out their choice for free.  Please leave your email so I can contact you. 

Note:  I was Not paid for my opinion on these candies.  I did get the opportunity to try these for free as a Bzz Agent.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Whatcha Eatin'?: October 1st Edition

It's October 1st!  CRAZY!  How does time go by so quickly?  We are loving this fall weather.  I have most of my fall decorations up and absolutely love burning my fall candles!  Just need to go pumpkin picking and we'll be all set.  One thing I love about fall is using my Crock Pot and making CHILI.  That is definitely on the menu this week.  We have a busy week ahead, so I plan to use my Crock Pot quite a bit. I have a bridal shower to attend Monday evening, so it's boys' night.  I am taking Baby Sis with me, as well as, a Cookies'N'Cream Dessert since I am helping out with the shower.  I also have a Thirty One party on Thursday, so another fun night without Mommy.  Gotta LOVE my Crockpot! 

Monday:  Taco Chicken Bowls, Carrots,  Apples & Caramel Dip  

Tuesday:  BBQ Chicken, Cheesy Potatoes, Peas,

Wednesday:  Pot Roast, Dinner Rolls

Thursday:  Chili, Carrots & Dip, Chees & Crackers

Friday: Cheeseburgers, French Fries, Baked Beans, Cottage Cheese

Saturday:  Dinner Out or Frozen Pizza

Sunday: Ribeyes, Grilled Potatoes, Green Beans

It's a great week for us!  What are you having?  Join me and link up at Organizing Junkie's Blog